Paying the Troll Toll
| Next Chapter> Last Chapter»
Gregory Schreck led the way through the underground tunnel. Tim clanged along behind, trying their best - and failing - to be polite and not stare at the tiny pair of trombone ears protruding from either side of Gregory’s thick, green neck.
“So naturally, as we’ve never seen the light of day, we’re all somewhat debilitated by the crippling effects of vitamin D deficiencies.” Gregory guffawed.
“Charming,” Matilda sniped.
“How illuminating!” Tim laughed, before being interrupted by a blow to the chest from Eric’s hairy forearm.
“Are you making jokes about light right after he’s confided his granny’s osteoporosis is likely caused by lack of light?” Eric chided Tim in a raspy whisper.
“What? It’s not like he can hear me. His ears are tiny, and shaped like little trumpets. I don’t think they’re even positioned correctly on his head.”
“Oh, I hear you just fine.” Gregory replied. “These little ears serve me well.”
Tim’s jaw swung on its hinge. Eric tut-tutted. Matilda held her breath.
“It’s ok,” Gregory continued, “I’m used to having my differences laid bare. I’m half-ogre, half-orc. I live between two distinct worlds, and neither of them are particularly tact folk.”
Matilda sighed with relief, “Tim isn’t known for their tact either.”
“Speaking of lack of tact,” laughed Gregory, “just round this bend…”
He trailed off in time for the troupe to round a corner. It looked like the corner they had just rounded (and the one before) making it clear Gregory knew these passages well. This time, awaiting them around the bend, a nasty-looking troglobite quickly stopped them in their tracks.
“Visitors from above the surface, may I introduce you to the Troll Patrol!” Gregory’s tone was flat, as though meeting with a triple-headed troll as wide as a truck gripping both a truncheon and a road-sign in each muscular hand was a mundane occurrence here beneath the surface.
“Schreck!” the first head smiled.
“Halt!” boomed the second, as the road sign emblazoned with the word HALT! was thrust forward.
“You know the rules.” reminded the third.
Gregory’s face set with annoyance, “you’re joking.”
“You know the rules Gregory!” The first head nodded.
“It’s time to pay the Troll Toll!” demanded the next.
“Or suffer the consequences!” the last head added, flatly.
Gregory crossed his arms, “I know for a fact I paid the toll to you guys just last week!”
Chapter 14: Paying the Troll Toll
If you want to know more about something mentioned in the story (e.g. a creature, place or person) go to the Lore of the Land:
If you want information about our hero’s characteristics and inventory at the start of this chapter go here and scroll to the relevant chapter:
Tim made a quick assessment. The triple headed beast posed no threat.
“No more talky, Orcy!” Tim pressed their finger to Gregory’s lip to shush him. The knight then flexed their fingers. “I’ll show you how to get past these puny goonies!”. A statement that made no sense as the giant wall of a troll was anything but puny.
Tim took a step toward the Troll Patrol. Coincidentally, a cave-dwelling snail with a conical shell the size of a schnauzer slowly crossed the threshold of the Troll’s path. Without delay the troll whacked the snail with the road sign it wielded. With a comical clang followed by a sickening crunch, the shell was shattered.
“Well that doesn’t seem too bad…” Eric, the most cowardly of the group gulped. Partway through Eric’s statement, the poor snail began to effervesce (frankly - a useless defense mechanism).
“Could be worse?” Matilda’s eyes darted to Tim, who had clearly begun to reassess the situation.
The Troll Patrol raised its other arm, and at its command, the passage they were assembled in contracted and expanded like the muscles of a throat. The walls, adorned with unlit torches, widened and sucked the tiny shelled creature into the complete darkness of the cave’s entrance, and out of sight.
“If you were just going to let him into the cave anyway,” Tim cried, “why smash his shell?”
The Troll Patrol’s three vulgar heads began to laugh. There was another rumble and this time the wind came from the cave’s entrance, like an exhale. The cave then spat from the darkness the shards of the snail’s exoskeleton. They landed at Tim’s feet. Eric shrieked and dove behind a rock.
“It’s no use, force majeure,” said Gregory, resigned.
“You speak French?” Matilda asked.
“Non ma chérie, Orcish. They stole it from us,” he thought before adding, “camembert too.”
“Delicious,” sighed Matilda.
Gregory nodded in reply, then turned to the Troll Patrol and appealed to the middle head, “alright Helen, what’s the price today?”
“Prices have gone up, it’s one hundred gold pieces,” the monobrowed head apparently called Helen replied grumpily.
“Come on, are you trying to pull a fast one? You know I only work pro-bono.”
“Rules is rules,” The eye-patched head on the right said in a whispery growl.
Gregory pulled a wallet from his pocket, opened it and a tiny brown moth flew out, “well Barry, I don’t think we’re getting through then.”
“We’ve got plenty of things to offer instead of money…” Matilda cried. Gregory’s green cheeks flushed pink.
“No bartering, we know our worth,” Barry smiled, “the local patrols have unionised, haven’t we Theodore?”
The first head, meeker than the others, looked down on the group apologetically, “so there’s really no alternative, I’m sorry to say. We’re going to have to go the ghoulish route.”
“That’s right,” Barry sneered, as the Troll Patrol stepped toward the group and its arm raised the truncheon it was holding.
“Well, there is that one thing I suggested…” Theodore said timidly, and as he did the Troll Patrol’s movement halted.
The middle head Helen rolled her eyes, and the Troll Patrol crossed their arm across their chest, “not today, Theodore.”
“Oh, ok then…” Troll Patrol shrugged as Theodore spoke.
“Wait, wait, wait we want to hear it!” Matilda said.
“Helen,” Barry addressed the other head, “we better let Theodore do it, or he’ll be pouting all day.”
Theodore grinned, and Troll Patrol put down its road sign and truncheon before rubbing its hands together with excitement, “you can pay ten gold pieces to answer a riddle!”
“But be warned there are great consequences for getting the wrong answer!” Barry leaned in, and Troll Patrol picked the truncheon back up off the ground.
“W-w-what will h-happen?” Eric wailed from behind his rock, teeth chattering with every syllable.
“Yes, Theodore… what will happen?” Helen sneered, as Troll Patrol collected its road sign.
“Uhh,” Theodore started, as though unprepared, “well, I haven’t thought of that yet. I have, however, thought of everything else!”
Theodore gently placed the truncheon on the ground and snapped the Troll Patrol’s fingers. A bright flame crackled to life at the torch nearest the group. The flame, as though alive, lept from wall to wall lighting each torch in its wake.
“Woah,” marveled Eric, taking a peek from his refuge behind his rock.
There seem to be some internal tensions between the heads of Troll Patrol… why is that: Theodore is obsessed with trains. Helen and Barry can’t spend another weekend at a model train convention. Helen always wanted to play lacrosse but the league’s rules were such that Troll Patrol counted as three players. No team would have her. Barry lost his eye when the other two were arguing and someone (neither will admit it) flicked a rubber band in his direction. Things have never been the same since. They’re just grouchy because they haven’t eaten a tasty human child in weeks.
Theodore winked back at him, then tugged the chord beside him that led to the ceiling. A banner swiftly unfurled, glittering and red. A constellation of silver hand-stitched sequins twinkled, forming into the words, TROLL PATROL’S TOLL LOOPHOLE SHOW.
“And now,” Theodore spoke in a gameshow voice as a drumroll sounded from an unseen drum. A panelist’s desk wheeled in from an unknown location, “hold onto your hats, ladies, gents and non-binaries for there’s a vast array of accoutrements on offer as prizes!”
Gregory turned to the group, “Accoutrements, that’s Orcish for fancy things!”
“Qui,” replied Matilda.
Gregory gasped, “you’re such a quick learner,” his gaze lingered on her, eyes sparkling.
Each head of the beast appeared a separate entity as they positioned themselves behind the desk, in perfect alignment with three handpainted question marks.
“Did someone say prizes?” Eric cried, stepping out from behind his rock.
Tim placed their hand on Eric’s shoulder, “we’re a team, he’s the brains and I’m the brawn.”
Eric’s chest swelled with pride.
Helen began to laugh, a low and ominous sound that grew louder, giving way to a cackle.
Eric quickly deflated.
Helen heaved and wiped a tear from her eye, “you are hilarious. The only prize to be won is for us to let you live.”
“Didn’t that head say we could win a vast array of accoutrements?” cried Matilda, waggling an accusatory finger toward Theodore.
“I, uh,” Theodore stammered, “by accoutrements I meant… your survival.”
Matilda swung angrily toward Gregory, “but you said that meant fancy things!”
“Must be a different dialect,” Gregory replied, stunned.
“I bet you’re a laugh riot at parties,” Matilda folded her arms.
Barry, the other head lifted his eye patch to itch his empty socket, and nodded in agreement, “we are. We have this bit-”
“Shut up, Barry,” Helen interrupted.
“Alright, alright, out with it already. Have you people forgot we’re on a quest?” Tim stated impatiently while throwing ten gold pieces at the central podium. Socrates squeaked upon Tim’s shoulder in agreement.
"Okay, then.” The level-headed and principled, Gregory said “We’re ready for your challenge.”
OH NO! The Troll Patrol are having a go at a loophole game show. Luckily we’ve got a few charmers in our party, maybe we can do a charisma check and see if a troll-focused pick-up line could aid them in their quest.
Suggest a pick up line for a member of the party to use on the Troll Patrol. Then Roll a D20 to see how effective it is.
FYI, I suggested:
“Slept under any good bridges lately? Or are you looking for something else to support you?” I rolled a 7 which is not appropriate because it should have been a critical failure.
Wow, a three-headed troll ready to risk our heroes’ lives in a game show? What madness is this… oh, that’s right it’s Misadventure Adventure.
Thanks to Prince Smith for coming up with the Troll Patrol, way back when we first asked for critters to put in here. Remember, if you want to be a part of the tale: you can pitch new areas, creatures, characters, and items/spells in the existing threads and see them get added to the Lore of the Land encyclopedia.
Voting closes a week from posting! and then a new chapter will come out that same day! WHATTT???! Read about it below.
The biggest news here is that we’re opting to make Misadventure Adventure a shorter per chapter outing but start posting weekly.
We decided this for a lot of reasons but mainly for engagement, we like the idea of having a quicker pace and higher turnover. This means the animated sections will largely be shorter (like last week) and the amount of interactions will vary much more. We would also like to do things like have a 10 chapter burst and then have a couple of weeks off. We hope readers enjoy this change.
We’re also changing the Statistics and Inventory section to be more useful and fun… stay tuned for that.
Furthermore, we’ve introduced a new section below to see what got decided last week… it is very originally titled Poll Position.
We asked you about Gregory’s relationship to the Ogre Kingdom and it was a three-way tie…
So we rolled a dice and it came up as a 2! This means that Gregory is a seasonal traveller to the Ogre Kingdom to visit his paternal grandparents. Doesn’t seem like he is too keen on it.
Next we found out that the party have little to worry about just yet. Gregory isn’t able to smell the stinky key… which is also an egg. It’ll surely come up eventually though.
Finally on the Wheel’s first outing we have found out that soon Tim will be learning the spell that they are already familiar with: Devouris Eternetum. The very spell that turned Meatball into his namesake.
If you enjoyed this please do one, some or all of the things below:
Subscribe | Share This Post | Visit Website |Subscribe to our Places I've Never Lived newsletter Subscribe to our Filmed With A Toothbrush newsletter | Subscribe to our Ex/Rec/Acc newsletter | Donate To Us